Tiger Poachers ‘Now Bolder’
Officials from the 13 tiger-range countries agreed on Tuesday to clamp down on traffickers of the big cats, who are growing bolder amid increasing demand from China.
“We are not dealing with ordinary poachers anymore,” said Ben Janse van Rensburg, chief of enforcement of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.
“These days the criminals involved in the wildlife trade are very sophisticated, organized gangs,” he told a seminar on tiger-related crimes in Bangkok.
“We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction,” said Kunio Mikuriya, secretary general of the World Customs Organization.
The tiger population has plummeted from around 100,000 a century ago to an estimated 3,200, the meeting of senior police and customs officials heard.
The illegal trade in wildlife as a whole has grown to an estimated $10 billion a year, but authorities have not stepped up their measures against it, said John Scanlon, the Cites general secretary.
“What we notice in wildlife crime is that there is nowhere near the depth of analysis that is done in respect of narcotics,” Scanlon said.
The 13 tiger-range countries include China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Russia.